Thursday, July 20, 2006
COULD A MORE SOPHISTICATED
'WEIGHTED STUDENT FUNDING' PROGRAM
SOLVE PROBLEMS IN NEBRASKA?
We already "weight" state aid based on a few factors related to differences in learning challenges among students: low-income kids whose family incomes qualify for Title I federal education funding and free or subsidized lunch in school get more in state aid under the presumption that their learning needs are more complex.
That's debatable on its face: it could be that "weighted funding" distracts educators from their basic mission and mires them in all kinds of social experimentation because the money's there. Many wise people believe kids in poverty need fewer "services" from their schools, and more straightforward delivery of academics -- along the model of what inner-city parochial schools do. It's called "stickin' to one's knittin'."
Comes now a very respected organization, the Fordham Foundation, pushing "weighted funding" similar to Nebraska's system, only more fine-tuned. It's confusing, since Fordham usually is spot on in its school reform recommendations. But maybe it could help some of Nebraska's school financing problems. Take a look:
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